Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency
Today I was guest at a book launch at Dag Hammarskjöld Centre in Uppsala, Sweden. The Exile-Kenyan Mr. Okoth Osewe (his blog „Kenya-Stockholm“) presented his new book Raila Odinga’s Stolen Presidency: Consequences And The Future of Kenya: According to its author, the elections were rigged in favour of the President Mwai Kibaki. His hastily arranged swearing in for a new term was tantamount to theft of office from the contender Raila Odinga.
After the presentation we had a good discussion on the elections and the situation in Kenya in general.
Here are some quotes of the evening that I could sign:
„The issue of LAND in Kenya is a bomb ready to explode“.
„The ruling class has no tribe, their tribe is money.“
„Odinga is a millionaire, they are all millionaires […] and every politicians his his own army of hooligans [young men with no future]“
„The Civil Society is strong in Kenya, very strong. This is why the government fears it. This is why last week two prominent activists were killed.“ (Link)
„It was in the interest of ODM to get as much violence on a daily basis to get international attention“. (Osewe said this after my request if not both sides have their guilt in preparing the post-election violence already before Dec7.2th.)
„The ruling class always protects itself“ (Osewe after being asked if the Waki-Reports sealed envelope (with name of guilty people) should be handed to DenHague (International Criminal Court) or to a Kenyan judge)
„He knows that the Cabinet post is saving him from persecution“ (about William Ruto, who is one of the prime suspects, believed to have incited the violence; Rute first opposed the Waki-Report, but was called to order by Odinga)
I myself think those people should be trialed right away in DenHague – inciting murder is not forgivable by a human – but Mr Annan (the Kofi Annan, a friend of the DHF) the chief mediator in the agreement that set up the coalition government, maintained that a local tribunal was better suited for Kenya (Link). Osewe: „When they come in front of a local tribunal – they will all be free men„. Does this mean stability (mainly short term stability for western investors) goes once again for justice (and the chance of long-term stability) in Kenya???
I myself have written a M.A.-Thesis last year on the elections (available on request) and it was great to discuss with a Kenyan the issue.
Osewes book can be ordered at http://mapambano.com/pages/stores.htm
Edit: I forgot to mention one positive thing in my eyes, but Per Lindgren did this for me:
Throughout his presentation, Mr. Osewe’s style of analysis betrays a clear leftist inclination as he challenges basic concepts of free market in Kenya and “imperialist control” of the country’s politics, economy and culture. Although the author avoids the use of Marxist jargon in his formulations, he leaves the informed reader with little doubt about his ideological standpoint as a contemporary Kenyan leftist thinker and writer.
EDIT2: Report on the bookpresentation by the author himself: Link